President Donald Trump delivered his most contentious speech yet on Tuesday, which he described as “a very, very strong statement” and “very, very good for the country”.
The President said he was “not going to sit here and take the blame” for the events of the past week, adding: “We’ll see what happens.”
The speech was widely condemned as an attack on democracy and an attempt to shut down the media.
The speech, which was the first of three he has given in two weeks, was the subject of a major media storm when it was leaked ahead of the event, which drew a record audience.
The President’s speech was largely a continuation of a theme of his administration, with his administration seeking to undermine the press, a campaign he says has resulted in leaks, intimidation and “political murder”.
In the first four days of the new administration, the number of journalists arrested, charged and jailed in the US rose by nearly 30 per cent.
The Trump administration has also ordered an increase in arrests, prosecutions and searches of journalists.
“There’s been a lot of leaks and a lot, a lot more than I thought,” Trump said in the speech.
“It’s going to be a lot easier to be president, and the press will be much easier to go after, if I get to the point where I can be very tough on them.”
Trump said he wanted to “reclaim the mantle” of “great American journalists” by “taking down” the “troubling and damaging” press.
“You know, some of the biggest news organizations, some the most prestigious news organizations in the world are going to go away,” he said.
“We’re going to get rid of the media, and we’re going get rid, and I will not allow that to happen.”
But he also said he would continue to defend the press and said he expected the “greatest and most trusted” journalists in the country to be the ones to “make the right call”.
He also reiterated his “commitment” to repealing and replacing Obamacare.
“I’m committed to making health care affordable for everybody,” he told the crowd.
“And, and this is really going to put America first.
We’re going be doing it by getting rid of all the regulations, regulations that are holding us back, by getting healthcare for everybody, but also by making sure we don’t put ourselves in a situation where we have to pay for everybody else’s healthcare.”
On Tuesday, Trump also reiterated that he wanted the media to “go away”.
“You’re not going to see the press anymore, you’re not gonna see anything.
You’re not getting any news anymore,” he added.
The president also said that he would use his executive powers to prevent “fake news” from spreading.
“When it comes to fake news, when it comes, we’re gonna get rid,” he declared.
“If you want to know the real story, we have fake news.
If you want real news, we got fake news,” he continued.
“So we’re not doing anything.
We’ve been very quiet about it.”
The President also said “it’s time” to “put the pressure on the news outlets that are covering us”.
The White House press office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Al Jazeera.
In the speech, Trump said the media “has been trying to silence us” for so long that “nobody really talks about us anymore”.
“I have not done anything for the media except talk about them.
It’s time for us to talk about the people that are actually going to write and tell the truth about our president,” he began.
“But, you know, it’s not going well.”
Trump also criticized the media for their treatment of him, saying he “never saw anything like this before” and said they “don’t know what they’re doing”.
“They don’t know how to treat me.
They don’t have respect for my life, they don’t respect my accomplishments, they do not respect my success, they treat me like garbage,” he stated.
“They want me to go to a party and they don.
And they have no respect for the fact that I’m a billionaire.
They’re trying to keep me from having success.
I’m not going.
I have the greatest success ever.
And that’s because of the press.”
Trump’s speech, delivered to a packed auditorium at the White House, was largely similar to previous administrations speeches and has been praised for its honesty and accuracy.
But some analysts were concerned that it would not be delivered in a way that would allow the President to defend his administration’s policies and to reassure Americans that the administration is still in the “normal” business of governing.
The White Trumpet, the official name of the speech was delivered by the press secretary, Sean Spicer, and was delivered after the President had left the podium.
“The press corps is not there for